Sir Paul Nurse & Nigel Lawson

by | Feb 18, 2013

As pointed out over at Bishop Hill, Nigel Lawson was the subject of some comments made by Royal Society president, Paul Nurse at his lecture at the University of Melbourne recently.

I have written a lot about the Royal Society, its campaigns, and the angry and doom-laden words of its presidents. It seems obvious that these presidents have real difficulty understanding the debate they want to comment on. But what seems more obvious is that they cannot listen (or read) to any other argument. That must be the case because they cannot reproduce their critics arguments at all faithfully. Bad faith, then, seems to be the cause of the hostility.

But I’m already bored of writing something about it that will surely be as ignored as everything else I’ve written about the Royal Society. I thought it might be more fun to try a different approach.


  1. geoff Chambers

    Excellent film. Congratulations. You say:

    The question that remains then is whether Nurse and his predecessors are simply naive, or are aware of what they are doing. I prefer the former argument.

    There’s too much evidence, in the Horizon film, and in the Melbourne talk, to let Nurse off with a simple conviction for naivety. For example, at Melbourne, he tried to place “the science” as a happy medium between “outlier” views, when he said:

    outside that consensus, and outside that proper scientific debate that is occurring within that mainstream, there are more extreme opinions. At one end it’s argued that there’s either no warming taking place, or if it is taking place then human agency is not important, and at the other end it’s argued that global warming will be absolutely catastrophic, that’s the outliers.

    apparently forgetting that the Royal Society awarded a prize to Mark Lynas’s “absolutely catastrophic” Nostradamian opus “Six Degrees”.

  2. Mark Shepherd

    Well done, a great compilation…

    We need Nurse to comment on the perlonged flat-lining of G/W, and the change of outlook and graph adjusting skills, of those working at the MET despite some of the most powerful computers in the world.

    While he’s in explanation mode perhaps he could comment on the probability that the trend in Antarctic ice growth isn’t going to create a mini Ice Age for those living in the south of the Southern Hemisphere.

  3. Mike Fowle

    Good film. Sad to see the Royal Society steadily going downhill like this. It’s a bit of a joke now, isn’t it?

  4. Alex Cull

    Great stuff – watched, liked, tweeted.

  5. Stuart Baker

    Just watched the film – nicely edited, simple message. I think you’re on to something here. Regrettably, you don’t reach more than a tiny number of people with a written piece, compared to the number that will watch a video piece.Make sure there are links back from it to the written discussion, give people a way in to the comments etc. What’s the visual opposite of a ‘drowning’ polar bear – starving kids in front of a (static) windmill? I don’t know, just reckon propaganda is just what propagates; doesn’t stop it being true just because it’s memorable…

  6. Yan Doodan

    The problem with an 18+ minute film is I can’t skim the boring quotes. Really, these people are all very dull and rather stupid, and I would prefer to face their quotes in large, skippable blocks of print.

    I did, however, appreciate seeing Horizon’s coupling Dr. Nurse’s opinions with 1984-style imagery and grim music. Such hysteria has the effect of reinforcing my doubts; I do not associate emotional manipulation with high quality science.

    I assume the second 2/3rds of the film emphasized the point that alarmists intentionally conflate disagreement with their policies with denial of their science, but at the 5 minute mark Hazeltine was blathering on and my little puppy was doing cute things with a rag behind me. One does have ones’ priorities.



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